Dynamic Spirit Site
January 5, 2004
Two Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images acquired before the spectacular January 2004 landing of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A), Spirit, show the area where the lander is currently believed to have touched down. The identification of the area shown in the two pictures above is based on the pictures acquired by Spirit's descent imaging system just before landing. The lower picture was obtained by MGS MOC on 22 July 2003, the upper picture was acquired less than a month ago on 10 December 2003. What is exciting about these two pictures is the differences in the patterns of dark, squiggly streaks. These streaks are believed to have been caused by the removal of bright dust by large, passing dust devils. Comparison of the picture from July 2003 with that of December 2003 show that a different dark streak pattern developed over a period of less than 5 months.
Topics: Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit rover, Mars, Environment, Lander, Mars landing, Malin Space Science Systems